FBC Hanceville pastor finds unexpected avenue of ministry through archery

Philip Wigley said the way archery worked its way into his life is a total God thing.

“I’m not a sports person,” he said. “I don’t have a sports background.”

But one day Wigley, pastor of First Baptist Church, Hanceville, in East Cullman Baptist Association, told his wife he thought he might buy a bow and try out archery. The second time he went out to shoot, he ran into the area’s conservation officer.

Reaching families

“He told me about the archery program in the schools,” Wigley said.

And the next thing Wigley knew, he was NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program) certified and serving as the archery coach for Hanceville Elementary School.

“The fact that I’m coaching something is very entertaining,” he said with a laugh.

But what he’s found is that it has opened up an unexpected avenue of ministry for him and his church. His work in the schools has given him a great way to meet teachers, children and parents in the area.

“I have absolutely loved getting to be a part of it. The archery program is really big in this area,” Wigley said, noting that a couple of the local schools had been to national and world competitions. “It’s a good sport for kids who may not be as athletically inclined to play football or basketball. It’s not as intimidating. We have seen a lot of success with it.”

And in the summer, his church hosts an archery-based ministry on Wednesday nights.

“We’ve had good attendance through it,” Wigley said. “We are able to draw a multitude of kids.”

The ministry, called Centershot, is part of a nationwide organization aimed at teaching young people gospel principles through archery.

Spiritual themes

“It takes the lessons of archery and ties them to spiritual themes,” Wigley said. “For example, it talks about how sin is missing the mark. It takes those types of lessons and teaches about how we grow in the Christian faith.”

Randy Makemson, director of missions for East Cullman Association, said the ministry has been very effective.

“On Wednesdays, they will shoot for a while, then go inside and talk about hitting the target with their faith,” he said. “It gives a good opportunity to share the gospel.” (Grace Thornton)

For more information about Centershot, visit centershot.org.